Fantasy Impact of Jorge Polanco’s 80-Game Suspension

Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco will miss 80 games of the 2018 season due to a suspension. What does his fantasy value look like now?

The Minnesota Twins made a few moves to become a threat to the Indians and their reign atop the AL Central. That battle got a bit more difficult as they will be without shortstop Jorge Polanco for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs. His fantasy value takes a big hit as a result.

MLB issued the suspension after Polanco tested positive for Stanozolol, the same drug that former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia received his first and second suspensions for. Polanco was being drafted in the 270-275 range according to FantasyPros. He will now go undrafted in a majority of leagues.

Polanco had a decent 2017 season in his first full year with the team. In 133 games, he hit .256 with 13 home runs, 74 RBIs, 60 runs and 13 steals. He was able to contribute to most of the fantasy categories as a late-round pick last season.

Polanco will be eligible to return in the second-half of June. He will be able to play in minor-league games as he awaits his return to the majors so he is not out of game shape by June. Until he returns, Eduardo Escobar will take over shortstop duties.

Escobar was slated to be a bench player with Polanco on the field. However, the Twins may not see a difference between the two at the plate.

In 457 at-bats last season, Escobar hit .254 with 21 home runs, 71 RBIs and 62 runs scored. The only thing he lacks is speed, 12 career steals.

Escobar will hit eighth in the Twins lineup so the prospect of him scoring a lot of runs is low. He will have the opportunity to drive in runs with Logan Morrison, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler hitting in front of him.

I don’t think I will draft Escobar, even with the starting job in hand for the first 80 games. One, he loses the job after three months so why waste a pick on a part-time player. Two, there are plenty of other shortstops to draft towards the end of your draft. Guys like Marcus Semien and Chris Owings are available after pick 250.

Even if you are in a deep league, Polanco does not provide enough for fantasy to warrant a bench spot. It’s quick, and probably inaccurate, math but if you slash Polanco’s 2017 numbers in half for this season, then expect a 6 HR/35 RBI/30 R/7 SB season. You can find better value on the waiver wire. Polanco should get his starting job back when he returns but he doesn’t belong on your fantasy team.